20 Sep

The UN refugee agency emerged in the wake of World War II to help Europeans displaced by that conflict. By 1956 UNHCR was facing its first major emergency, the outpouring of refugees when Soviet forces crushed the Hungarian Revolution. In the 1960s, the decolonization of Africa produced the first of that continent’s numerous refugee crises needing UNHCR intervention. Over the following two decades, UNHCR had to help with displacement crises in Asia and Latin America. By the end of the century there were fresh refugee problems in Africa and, turning full circle, new waves of refugees in Europe from the series of wars in the Balkans.

The start of the 21st Century has seen UNHCR helping with major refugee crises in Africa, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, and Asia, especially the 30-year-old Afghan refugee problem. At the same time, UNHCR has been asked to use its expertise to help many internally displaced by conflict. Less visibly, it has expanded its role in helping stateless people, a largely overlooked group numbering millions of people in danger of being denied basic rights because they do not possess any citizenship. In some parts of the world, such as Africa and Latin America, the original 1951 mandate has been strengthened by agreement on regional legal instruments.

From only 34 staff members when UNHCR was founded, it now has 6,650 national and international members of staff, including 740 in UNHCR‘s Geneva headquarters. The agency works in 118 countries, with staff based in 108 main locations such as regional and branch offices and 151 often remote sub-offices and field offices. UNHCR now deals with 34.4 million people of concern to UNHCR: 14.4 million internally displaced people, 10.5 million refugees, 2 million returnees, 6.6 million stateless people and more than 800,000 asylum seekers.

The UNHCR office in Hong Kong was officially established in 1979 to cope with the influx of the Vietnamese Boat People. Today the UNHCR’s office in Hong Kong serves two purposes
Assistance: To assist asylum-seekers and refugees as well as the identification and promotion of durable solutions (mostly resettlement) under its mandate.
Fundraising: In 2007, UNHCR started private sector fundraising operation in Hong Kong. Money raised in HK is used to support the UN Refugee Agency’s humanitarian work to protect and assist refugees around the world.

Volunteering: There are a number of ways that you can help the UNHCR assist the millions of innocent victims around the world who have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety.
1. Clerical support, including data entry, lettershop, work the UNHCR office during office hour;
2. Translation, writing, editing and design work that you can work at home, and keep close communications with the UNHCR;
3. Assist in event activities, for example, setting up for the venue, selling at stalls, receiving visitors and journalists, etc.
4. Provide the UNHCR with your professional advice in public relations or co-organise event for the UNHCR.
For further information and to register as a volunteer, complete the volunteer form on their website.


3 Responses to “UNHCR”

  1. Sugel September 22, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    .The United Nations has declared a famine in parts of Somalia as the worst drought for 60 years forces thousands of people to flee their homes and cross the countrys borders in search of aid… After the head of the United Nations refugee agency got a firsthand look at the suffering people of East Africa he said Friday his heart was broken…

  2. yusufalawaidy February 16, 2019 at 7:27 am #

    How can we volunteer for UNHCR

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